The Elan Valley trail is a glorius accessible, route forming 9 traffic free miles of National Route 81 which connects Aberystwyth and Wolverhampton via Shrewsbury and Telford. This section of the route is truly stunning as you cycle on the old railway line which helped to create the Elan Valley dams and reservoirs.
Things To Do
Elan Valley Trail - Sustrans Cycle Route 81
Following the line of the old Birmingham Corporation Railway for most of the way, the Elan Valley Trail offers families, novice cyclists and committed enthusiasts the opportunity to experience this beautiful part of the country at its best whilst staying healthy and helping the environment.
The trail starts from the pretty community of Cwmdeuddwr on the western side of Rhayader. Parking is available locally and Rhayader contains a number of cafes, shops, pubs, a bike shop and toilets. The linear Elan Valley Trail can be ridden in either direction but most people head west from the town towards the valley.
After leaving Cwmdeuddwr the route climbs over the impressive Rhayader Tunnel, a Radnorshire Wildlife Trust Reserve that is home to many bat species. Approximately half a mile later the route crosses a road, it's at this junction where Lon Las Cymru splits off and the Elan Valley Trail continues straight along the path.
At the next junction you can either continue along the trail up to the spectacular dams and reservoirs, or drop down to the Elan Valley Visitor Centre where you can stop off for refreshments at the cafe, delve into the history of the area and visit the tourist information centre.
The trail climbs steadily from the northern end of Garreg Ddu Reservoir, providing stunning views of the surrounding valleys and the four reservoirs that feed Birmingham's water supply, and continues up to the finish at Craig Goch Dam where toilets are available. A large part of the trail has a tarmac surface, so it is also suitable for less able users, but the northern end is not surfaced.
9 mile traffic free section of the Lon Cambria National Cycle Route 81. National Route 81 connects Aberystwyth and Wolverhampton via Shrewsbury and Telford.
Offa's Dyke Path
Built in the 8th century by King Offa as a boundary between Wales and England the dyke is now a national walking trail within easy reach of Rhayader.
Following the border between England and Wales for 182 miles (293km), the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail passes through some of the most spectacular scenery either country has to offer. The trail largely follows the ancient Offa’s Dyke, an 8m high earth embankment built in the 8th century by King Offa as a boundary between Wales and England, and guarantees the most commanding views of the surrounding countryside.
Gilfach Nature Reserve
Visitor centre – phone for opening times and event details: watch for butterflies, otters and leaping salmon, explore habitats rich in rare and fascinating wildlife, guided wildlife walks and talks.
See more here.
Gilfach is a traditional Radnorshire hill farm that has remained unimproved since the 1960's. Radnorshire Wildlife Trust purchased the farm back in 1988 and with fantastic support from volunteers, spent the next few years renovating the longhouse and barn; restoring the ancient field boundaries and developing a management plan that puts wildlife at its heart.
The farm is registered as an organic holding and is entered in the Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme and the Better Woodlands for Wales scheme. A local farmer works in partnership with us to manage the land for conservation, grazing it using traditional breeds like Welsh black cows and local Welsh mountain-cross sheep. Currently there are some black, horned sheep that look more like goats! These are a black Welsh Mountain/Hebridean cross.
The freehold of this 410 acre (166 ha) reserve was purchased in 1988 with very generous donations from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Countryside Commission, World Wide Fund for Nature, Oakdale Trust, W.A. Cadbury Charitable Trust and many other charitable trusts and individuals.
Lon Las Cymru National Cycle Route 8
Lon Las Cymru National Cycle Route 8
The 240 mile jewel in Wales’s cycle-touring crown, weaving a scenic route from Anglesey (in North Wales) to the Bristol Channel, passing through some magnificent Mid Wales landscapes along the way. Known as the Lon Las Cymru fully open and signed between Cardiff and Holyhead (Anglesey) via Brecon, Builth Wells, Machynlleth, Porthmadog and Bangor.
The route is described here from Cardiff to Holyhead but is signed in both directions. Opened in 1995, the route runs down the whole length of Wales and is one of the toughest of all the long distance routes on the National Cycle Network, tougher even than the famous Sea to Sea (C2C). As such it represents an excellent challenge for anyone looking for a spectacular 5-7 day ride.
The route is currently 257 miles long.
1. Cardiff to Llanidloes
The Lôn Las Cymru (South) cycle route starts or finishes in either Cardiff Bay (National Route 8) or Chepstow (National Route 42 - this option joins National Route 8 at Glasbury). Route 8 follows the mainly traffic-free Taff Trail (pdf) between Cardiff and Brecon and then rolling country lanes through Mid Wales, following the approximate course of the River Wye north from Glasbury. Glasbury to Holyhead also forms part of EuroVelo 2.
2. Llanidloes to Holyhead
The Lôn Las Cymru (North) climbs steadly out of Llanidloes following the upper valley of the River Severn to the highest point on National Route 8 at 510m before dropping down to Machynlleth. There are two route options between Machynlleth and Porthmadog. A more coastal route includes the Mawddach Trail between Dolgellau and Barmouth and takes in Harlech, whilst the inland route passes through Dolgellau, Coed-y-Brenin Forest and Trawsfynydd. The routes rejoin at Penrhydeudraeth and continue to Caernarfon on the Lôn Eifion trail and then to Bangor on the Lôn Las Menai. After crossing the Menai Strait via the Menai Suspension Bridge onto Anglesey the route follows quiet roads across the island to Holyhead.
Abbeycwmhir Village Visit
Abbey Cwm Hir (Abaty’r Cwm Hir) - The Abbey in the Long Valley. Here, in 1143 the building of an Abbey commenced which had it been completed, would have been the largest in Wales and where the headless remains of Llewelyn ap Gruffydd (Llewelyn ap Gruffudd) the last of the Welsh Princes, are reputed to have been buried. The abbey ruins can still be seen and nearby the Hall at Abbeycwmhir has been splendidly restored, decorated and furnished and is a visitor attraction open by appointment and well worth a visit.
Abbeycwmhir, a village situated in the centre of Wales amongst the Cambrian mountains in the old county of Radnorshire steeped in history and natural beauty,virtually undiscovered by the modern world.
The name Abbeycwmhir derives from the Cistercian monastery built here in 1143 and translates as Abbey in the long (hir) valley (cwm). Abbeycwmhir is also the burial place of the last native Prince of Wales "Llewellyn the Last".His head was taken to London and his body buried here,there is a memorial stone for him in the ruins of the old Abbey. The village sits in the base of the valley close to the Clewedog brook and is surrounded by hills.Glyndwrs Way national walking trail and cycle route 25 pass through the village making it an ideal location for these activities. Hanging oak forests, rocky outcrops and unpolluted farmland make this the best place in the country to watch rarities such as red kites, peregrines, pied flycatchers and redstart,daily feeding can be seen at the UK's leading Red Kite Centre, Gigrin Farm just six miles away. Over 150 kites gather for the daily afternoon feeding sessions at Gigrin Kite Centre, not to mention scores of buzzards and ravens.